I prefer homemade kefir to yogurt because yogurt only has 2-5 strains of beneficial bacteria. None of these aggressively attack and destroy pathogens in the gut like the probiotics in kefir do.
By the way, kefir is pronounced ku-feer (not kee-fer or ke-fer).
Kefir made at home has dozens of beneficial bacterial strains as well as several beneficial yeasts. Kefir compared to yogurt is no competition. Kefir is much more beneficial for gut healing.
The one catch is that you need to learn how to make kefir yourself! Commercial kefir brands typically have far less microbial strains and are not fermented sufficiently long to have the same benefits.
Homemade Kefir Benefits
In a gut that is dominated by pathogens and candida overgrowth (as in someone who has taken many rounds of antibiotics and other prescription drugs over the years and/or eats primarily processed foods), yogurt tends to have only a temporary beneficial impact. As mentioned earlier, homemade kefir has about 30 beneficial strains of bacteria and yeasts that do aggressively recolonize the gut by destroying pathogens. As a result, kefir has the potential to permanently alter the gut environment for the better whereas yogurt does not.
The best way to make homemade kefir is to obtain live kefir grains from a friend. They grow slowly over time and extras can be given away (or even eaten as a live probiotic).
If you cannot find any live grains in your community, you can mail order them.
Other Types of Kefir Made at Home
If learning how to make other types of kefir interests you, check out this video on how to make water kefir. This second video plus recipe shows you how to make coconut milk kefir if you wish to make a dairy-free version of the milk-based kefir below.
Homemade Kefir Recipe
Easy recipe for homemade kefir fermented on the counter for 24 hours to maximize beneficial microbial strains for gut healing.
Pour the raw milk into a clean glass mason jar leaving about 1 inch at the top. You can use cold milk right out of the refrigerator if this is more convenient. Gently stir kefir grains or one packet of kefir starter powder into the raw milk.
Screw on the lid and leave on the counter at room temperature for 24 hours. Over this time, you will see the milk slightly separate and thicken.
The kefir should be ready after 24 hours of fermentation time. If powder culture was used, you can use the kefir as is. If live kefir grains were used, gently strain them out to use again with the next batch of raw kefir.
You do not need to rinse live kefir grains before using again. Rinsing them slightly weakens them in my experience.
Homemade kefir will last many weeks in the refrigerator, but its flavor will get stronger over time.
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.